LANGHORNE, PA – Today, May 8th, 2020, U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Susan Wild (PA-07) introduced the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Pandemic Enhancement and Relief (CHIPPER) Act, to increase support for State Children’s Health Insurance programs during the COVID–19 emergency. Enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues to nationally increase as a result of this pandemic. However, without action, federal funding for this program is set to be cut in October of this year.
“The CHIPPER Act will help provide much-needed coverage for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fitzpatrick said. “So many families and children depend on CHIP for critical medical care. Our children are our future, and we must make sure that they have access to the care they need during this pandemic and its aftermath.”
“As this pandemic continues to inflict a level of stress and uncertainty on our nation’s families that is unparalleled in modern times, ensuring access to comprehensive health insurance for children is of the utmost importance,” Wild said. “We have to take commonsense steps to protect America’s families for the duration of this pandemic – and we can start by ensuring our children have access to the health care they need and deserve. I’m proud of this legislation which makes good on our promise to keep putting America’s families first.”
“As Pennsylvania and the nation navigate a public health emergency and the accompanying economic uncertainty, availability of reliable, affordable health coverage is more important than ever,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “Continuing current levels of federal support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will allow Pennsylvania and other states to uphold CHIP as an option for Pennsylvania families so we do not see a growth in children going uninsured and without care necessary to help them lead healthy lives. I am grateful to Representative Wild and Representative Fitzpatrick for advocating for families who rely on CHIP and preserving this option for families around the nation.”
In 2018, Congress increased the CHIP Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by 11.5 percent. This increase expires at the end of this fiscal year, meaning that support for CHIP may decline at the same time states are struggling against a public health emergency.
The CHIPPER Act calls for support of CHIP through safeguarding the program’s FMAP for states in a way that is consistent with Medicaid FMAP standards under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation, which supports and strengthens CHIP’s FMAP for states will help ensure critical access to health insurance that provides comprehensive coverage for children, including coverage for vaccines and mental health services.
Eight members of the Pennsylvania delegation were original co-sponsors of this legislation and the bill has been endorsed by PA CHIP and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).